Copy Cats: Stories (Flannery O'Connor Award for Short by David Crouse

By David Crouse

That includes seven tales and a novella, David Crouse’s strong debut assortment depicts humans staring down the advanced mysteries in their personal identities. “Who are you?” a homeless guy asks his would-be benefactor within the identify tale. at the floor it’s an easy query, yet one who may stump a few of the characters who inhabit those conscientiously rendered tales.In the edgy novella “Click” Jonathan’s ongoing photo-documentary of a prostitute exposes how little depth continues to be among him and his fianc?e, Margaret. whereas Jonathan is plagued with doubts approximately his motivations and talents as an artist, Margaret is tired by means of her responsibilities not only to her needy husband-to-be yet to the entire males in her lifestyles. In “The Ugliest Boy,” Justin develops a strange friendship with Steven, his girlfriend’s brother. Steven was once disfigured via fireplace in a early life coincidence. Justin bears wounds extra deeply hidden. the 2 forge an odd bond in accordance with their anger and pain.Crouse’s tales usually contain humans trapped at the margins of society, faced through diminishing chances and numerous kinds of psychological ailment. The junior government in “Code” concerns approximately his job--and his sanity--amid a unexpected and wide-sweeping company layoff. A manic-depressive father and his teenage daughter costume as vampires and embark on a wierd Halloween trip via their suburban local within the darkly funny “Morte Infinita.” In “Swimming at midnight” a family members offers up on itself. Shredded slowly through the years because the unintended drowning of the eldest son, the rest family search their very own separate peace, despite the fact that imperfect.The women and men in reproduction Cats are unwilling and infrequently not able to distinguish truth from fable. Cursed with what one in every of them calls “a toxins of ideas,” those are humans at conflict with their very own imaginations.

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There was a conservative hint of a smile on her face—a hesitant, shameful smile—but her skin was darkening in the sunshine, and she looked healthy. She was changing, blending into her new environment like a chameleon. Kristen was changing too. Everything was. indd 23 M O R T E IN FINITA Well, not everything. Her father wasn’t getting worse, not really, and that’s what Kristen told her mom when she asked her about him. She said, “He’s doing great. We’re having an amazing time. ” She laughed nonchalantly like they were in Paris.

The food arrived with a nervous clatter. When the waitress headed back to the kitchen, Kristen asked the question again and felt like she was jabbing him with something small and sharp—her fork, her sticky knife. ” He didn’t answer. He was still watching the man in the parking lot, where the streetlights were finally coming on. ” Kristen asked. ” He was smoothing his mashed potatoes down with the curved back of his fork like he was petting a kitten. “It’s all very primal, what’s happening right now.

Or further. Until he was lost. ” She smelled of her new perfume, something flowery, and her hands were wet and cold when he touched them. He still had his job at her father’s friend’s company, and if he were to tell her then that he wanted to go to bed she would have thought only that he was working too hard. They separated and she took the drinks into the other room. He could hear laughter and jazz music from one of his father’s old records and then the sound of a chair sliding. He considered staying in the kitchen and reading the newspaper.

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